When I was a little kid, I used to think I was attracted to girls. I liked different aspects of girls. Sometimes, it was their hair. Sometimes it was what they were wearing. Sometimes it was the shape of their bodies. Sometimes, it was their personalities. Kids at school would say something about a girl in class. And I thought we were on the same wave length. It wasn’t until I got into junior high, that I feared something else was going on.
The way my school district shuffled us around back then was kind of confusing. Elementary school was K-5. Middle school was 6th and 7th grade. Junior High was 8th and 9th. And then high school was 10th -12th. Now, I hear they have built enough schools to straighten things out. Sorry. I just felt like I needed to clarify that. Because when I say junior high, I meant 8th and 9th grade. People in my classes started dating. I’d be at swim meets and guys around me would make lewd comments about some girls who just happened to walk by. That’s when I started to think something was amiss. I didn’t have those same opinions when I looked at a girl. I wanted to get to know her. I wanted to be her friend. I liked that sweater she was wearing. I was jealous of her perfect body. So, apparently I wasn’t a heterosexual guy. Strike one.
Okay. So, I must have been gay, right? Well………Not exactly. There was something there. Really, there was. But, it felt hollow. I have a much better appreciation of sexual attraction now. Back then, I didn’t get it. I thought I must be asexual. And it made me really depressed. But, there were moments when I didn’t really understand what I was going through. There was one time in the weight room in P.E. class. I was spotting for some guy on the bench press. And too my right, was one of the best looking guys in my school laying down at another bench press. He had his shirt off. And for some reason, I couldn’t explain, I found myself just looking at him. I couldn’t look away. There wasn’t a feeling associated with it that I could remember. I just had to look at him. I was so distracted, that before I knew it, there were two other guys coming to the rescue of the guy I was in charge of spotting. It was really embarrassing. This was the 9th grade. And I don’t really remember gaining any sexual attraction towards guys even towards the end of high school.
I did date in high school. And I think I’ve written about that experience. She and I are still friends. I don’t want to embarrass her. But, kissing her felt like I was kissing my sister. She’s a really great person. And I’d like to think we might have been really good friends had I been born right. We met while we worked on the school paper together. Good times.
My former shipmates in the navy will be glad to know that I wasn’t looking at them in a sexual manner. I literally didn’t have sexual feelings one way or the other. I had a discussion recently with a former ship mate who I have just recently come out to on Facebook. We were talking about meeting women overseas. And I told him flat out that I didn’t have sex with anyone while we were overseas. I mentioned a conversation a friend and I had with two Chinese twin girls in a bar in Hong Kong. We sat there for awhile just talking. I think that was the extent of my contact with women on that entire 6 month cruise. The former ship mate I was chatting with couldn’t believe it. He just assumed that I was always off hooking up with girls at every port. Not really. I was mostly just being a tourist. He mentioned that I wasted my good looks. I’ve reached an age now, that I’ll accept that I probably was a good looking guy in my youth. But, back then, I didn’t see it that way. I thought I was ugly. I was born in the wrong body. I was born wrong. There was no way anybody could convince me that I was a good looking guy. Or that anyone found me attractive.
So, from that brief moment in the weight room until very recently, I’m not sure I have ever looked at anyone, male or female, and been sexually “attracted” to them. I’ve since heard from a couple of therapists that depression tamps down on the sex drive. I guess that’s probably what was happening. I was really, really depressed. Over the years after moving to Colorado, I’ve tried to convince myself that I was attracted to women. There was a former coworker with beautiful long hair. She’s now one of my best friends. There was of course, the ex-girlfriend. There were a couple of trans friends who are still really good friends. But, in each of those cases, I have to be honest with myself and say that it was something about their body, or more importantly their personality that I respected. I wanted to get to know them better. I wanted to be friends. And some of what I thought might be attraction in my trans friends was really respect for what they have gone through to be who they were meant to be.
So, what am I? I hate labels. But, I find myself trying to fit myself into one anyway. I’m not a gay man. I know that. I’m not a man. So, I’m not gay. Besides, I had to walk out of the room during that one scene in the movie Brokeback Mountain. Ewww.
I don’t like women. At least not in that way. I’ve only had sex with one woman. And no offense to her (especially if she reads this), but, sex with any woman only makes me think of one word. Trauma. It wasn’t fun. I did it only for her pleasure. And I never initiated it. There was probably a reason I was a 27 year old virgin.
Am I asexual? I used to think I was. I’ve always liked the idea of the outcast or the underdog. The outcasts are the creative people. They are the ones who are pushing the limits. Growing up, I saw myself as an outcast. I didn’t fit in. And I was ok with that. But, knowing what you are is different from knowing what you aren’t. So, it bothered me that I wasn’t attracted to women or men. Very, very few people are really truly asexual. In that way, I always have been alone. It’s hard to bond with fellow asexuals, when there aren’t any around. I didn’t feel like I had anything in common with anybody.
But, something has been happening. And it didn’t start until I was 27 years old. Yes, that’s right. I did mention earlier that I had sex for the first time at the age of 27. It wasn’t the girl I had sex with. It was the act. Once I had sex with someone, I started ever so briefly allowing myself to fantasize about sex. Sex as a woman. Sex with a man. I didn’t used to be ok with that. But, it did happen from time to time. And as I started to come to some personal acceptance about being trans, it’s come easier. I’ve never liked the word “fantasize”. I didn’t understand it’s association with sex. Sex and sexual thoughts were always a foreign concept. Until recently. But, it’s not something that overwhelms me. I hardly ever think about sex. But, it happens. If I let myself be open to the idea. And yes. I think about guys. I’ve never thought about sex with girls. And I’ve never thought about sex with guys with me as a guy.
While watching a documentary recently, a transwoman and her female partner were told by someone that they don’t understand why she would become a woman if she still was attracted to women. The partner of the transwoman put it perfectly. She said, “What if one day, you woke up in the body of a man. You would probably find that pretty disturbing, right? But, you’d probably still be attracted to guys.” Upon hearing that, the woman she was telling this too, looked like she would have to think about this for a little while. The idea that sexual orientation is separate from gender identity is hard for most people to grasp. The majority of people in this world are heterosexual. And there are some whose brains are wired to be homosexual. They are so closely connected with their identity as male or female, that it’s hard to separate. That’s why some people think that homosexuality is a choice. Although, my life has been very trying at times, I am starting to look at my journey toward sexual attraction as a gift. I grew up so confused, that it gave me the gift to look at every angle until I found what fit for me. I couldn’t be comfortable with sexual attraction until I was comfortable with myself. One of the best things my ex-girlfriend said to me was “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself.” Now, yes, I do know that love and sexual attraction are not the same. But, I think what she said still holds true. I had so much self hatred for myself back then, that I thought loving yourself was a form of extreme vanity. But, years later, as I get more comfortable with my own skin and where I belong in this world, I’m much more comfortable saying who I’m attracted too. And that makes me feel good about myself.